Category: Generative syntax

Phrase structure rules
Phrase structure rules are a type of rewrite rule used to describe a given language's syntax and are closely associated with the early stages of transformational grammar, proposed by Noam Chomsky in 1
Verb-initial word order
In syntax, verb-initial (V1) word order is a word order in which the verb appears before the subject and the object. In the more narrow sense, this term is used specifically to describe the word order
Subjacency is a general syntactic locality constraint on movement. It specifies restrictions placed on movement and regards it as a strictly local process. This term was first defined by Noam Chomsky
Cartographic syntax
In linguistics, Cartographic syntax, or simply Cartography, is a branch of Generative syntax. The basic assumption of Cartographic syntax is that syntactic structures are built according to the same p
Relative clause
A relative clause is a clause that modifies a noun or noun phrase and uses some grammatical device to indicate that one of the arguments in the relative clause refers to the noun or noun phrase. For e
Endocentric and exocentric
In theoretical linguistics, a distinction is made between endocentric and exocentric constructions. A grammatical construction (for instance, a phrase or compound) is said to be endocentric if it fulf
Agreement (linguistics)
In linguistics, agreement or concord (abbreviated agr) occurs when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates. It is an instance of inflection, and usually involves making th
Anaphora (linguistics)
In linguistics, anaphora (/əˈnæfərə/) is the use of an expression whose interpretation depends upon another expression in context (its antecedent or postcedent). In a narrower sense, anaphora is the u
In linguistics, antisymmetry is a syntactic theory presented in Richard S. Kayne's 1994 monograph The Antisymmetry of Syntax. It asserts that grammatical hierarchies in natural language follow a unive
In linguistics, a resultative (abbreviated RES) is a form that expresses that something or someone has undergone a change in state as the result of the completion of an event. Resultatives appear as p
Discontinuity (linguistics)
In linguistics, a discontinuity occurs when a given word or phrase is separated from another word or phrase that it modifies in such a manner that a direct connection cannot be established between the
List of syntactic phenomena
A list of phenomena in syntax. * Anaphora * Agreement * Answer ellipsis * Antecedent-contained deletion * Binding * Differential Object Marking * Case * Clitics * Control * Coreference * Di
Valency (linguistics)
In linguistics, valency or valence is the number and type of arguments controlled by a predicate, content verbs being typical predicates. Valency is related, though not identical, to subcategorization
Subordination (linguistics)
In linguistics, subordination (abbreviated variously SUBORD, SBRD, SUBR or SR) is a principle of the hierarchical organization of linguistic units. While the principle is applicable in semantics, morp
In linguistics, coreference, sometimes written co-reference, occurs when two or more expressions refer to the same person or thing; they have the same referent. For example, in Bill said Alice would a
Deep structure and surface structure
Deep structure and surface structure (also D-structure and S-structure, although these abbreviated forms are sometimes used with distinct meanings) are concepts used in linguistics, specifically in th
Binding (linguistics)
In linguistics, binding is the phenomenon in which anaphoric elements such as pronouns are grammatically associated with their antecedents. For instance in the English sentence "Mary saw herself", the
Selection (linguistics)
In linguistics, selection denotes the ability of predicates to determine the semantic content of their arguments. Predicates select their arguments, which means they limit the semantic content of thei
Specified subject condition
The Specified Subject Condition (SSC) is a condition proposed in Chomsky (1973) which restricts the application of certain syntactic transformational grammar rules. In many ways it is a counterpart to
Heavy NP shift
Heavy NP shift is an operation that involves re-ordering (shifting) a "heavy" noun phrase (NP) to a position to the right of its canonical position under certain circumstances. The heaviness of the NP
Trace (linguistics)
No description available.
Pseudogapping is an ellipsis mechanism that elides most but not all of a non-finite verb phrase; at least one part of the verb phrase remains, which is called the remnant. Pseudogapping occurs in comp
Government and binding theory
Government and binding (GB, GBT) is a theory of syntax and a phrase structure grammar in the tradition of transformational grammar developed principally by Noam Chomsky in the 1980s. This theory is a
In generative grammar and related frameworks, m-command is a syntactic relation between two nodes in a syntactic tree. A node m-commands a node if the maximal projection of dominates , but neither nor
Scrambling (linguistics)
Scrambling is a syntactic phenomenon wherein sentences can be formulated using a variety of different word orders without any change in meaning. Scrambling often results in a discontinuity since the s
Theta criterion
The theta-criterion (also named θ-criterion) is a constraint on x-bar theory that was first proposed by Noam Chomsky as a rule within the system of principles of the government and binding theory, cal
Raising (linguistics)
In linguistics, raising constructions involve the movement of an argument from an embedded or subordinate clause to a matrix or main clause; in other words, a raising predicate/verb appears with a syn
Verb phrase ellipsis
In linguistics, verb phrase ellipsis (VP-ellipsis or VPE) is a type of elliptical construction and a type of anaphora in which a verb phrase has been left out (elided) provided that its antecedent can
Parasitic gap
In generative grammar, a parasitic gap is a construction in which one gap appears to be dependent on another gap. Thus, the one gap can appear only by virtue of the appearance of the other gap, hence
In linguistics, subcategorization denotes the ability/necessity for lexical items (usually verbs) to require/allow the presence and types of the syntactic arguments with which they co-occur. The notio
In linguistics, a relativizer (abbreviated REL) is a type of conjunction that introduces a relative clause. For example, in English, the conjunction that may be considered a relativizer in a sentence
Constituent (linguistics)
In syntactic analysis, a constituent is a word or a group of words that function as a single unit within a hierarchical structure. The constituent structure of sentences is identified using tests for
Well-formedness is the quality of a clause, word, or other linguistic element that conforms to the grammar of the language of which it is a part. Well-formed words or phrases are grammatical, meaning
Burzio's generalization
In generative linguistics, Burzio's generalization is the observation that a verb can assign a theta role to its subject position if and only if it can assign an accusative case to its object. Accordi
Empty category principle
In linguistics, the empty category principle (ECP) was proposed in Noam Chomsky's syntactic framework of government and binding theory. The ECP is supposed to be a universal syntactic constraint that
Inverse copular constructions
In linguistics, inverse copular constructions, named after Moro (1997), are a type of inversion in English where canonical SCP word order (subject-copula-predicative expression, e.g. Fred is the plumb
Sentence diagram
A sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a sentence. The term "sentence diagram" is used more when teaching written language, where sentences are diagrammed. Th
Preposition and postposition
Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in traditional grammar, simply prepositions), are a class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (in, under, to
The term equative (or equational) is used in linguistics to refer to constructions where two entities are equated with each other. For example, the sentence Susan is our president, equates two entitie
Tough movement
In formal syntax, tough movement refers to sentences in which the syntactic subject of the main verb is logically the object of an embedded non-finite verb. Because the object of the lower verb is abs
Lexical Integrity Hypothesis
The Lexical Integrity Hypothesis (LIH) or Lexical Integrity Principle is a hypothesis in linguistics which states that syntactic transformations do not apply to subparts of words. It functions as a co
Topicalization is a mechanism of syntax that establishes an expression as the sentence or clause topic by having it appear at the front of the sentence or clause (as opposed to in a canonical position
PRO (linguistics)
In generative linguistics, PRO (called "big PRO", distinct from pro, "small pro" or "little pro") is a pronominal determiner phrase (DP) without phonological content. As such, it is part of the set of
Sloppy identity
In linguistics, sloppy identity is an interpretive property that is found with verb phrase ellipsis where the identity of the pronoun in an elided VP (verb phrase) is not identical to the antecedent V
Grammatical relation
In linguistics, grammatical relations (also called grammatical functions, grammatical roles, or syntactic functions) are functional relationships between constituents in a clause. The standard example
Node (linguistics)
In formal syntax, a node is a point in a tree diagram or syntactic tree that can be assigned a syntactic category label.
Crossover effects
In linguistics, crossover effects are restrictions on possible binding or coreference that hold between certain phrases and pronouns. Coreference (or coindexation) that is normal and natural when a pr
X-bar theory
In linguistics, X-bar theory is a model of phrase-structure grammar and a theory of syntactic category formation that was first proposed by Noam Chomsky in 1970 and further developed by Ray Jackendoff
In linguistics, gapping is a type of ellipsis that occurs in the non-initial conjuncts of coordinate structures. Gapping usually elides minimally a finite verb and further any non-finite verbs that ar
Pied-piping with inversion
Pied-piping with inversion is a special word order phenomenon found in some languages, for example, languages in the Mesoamerican linguistic area.
Principles and parameters
Principles and parameters is a framework within generative linguistics in which the syntax of a natural language is described in accordance with general principles (i.e. abstract rules or grammars) an
In linguistics, wh-movement (also known as wh-fronting, wh-extraction, or wh-raising) is the formation of syntactic dependencies involving interrogative words. An example in English is the dependency
Indeterminate pronoun
An indeterminate pronoun is a pronoun which can show a variety of readings depending on the type of sentence it occurs in. The term "indeterminate pronoun" originates in Kuroda's (1965) thesis and is
Merge (linguistics)
Merge (usually capitalized) is one of the basic operations in the Minimalist Program, a leading approach to generative syntax, when two syntactic objects are combined to form a new syntactic unit (a s
In certain theories of syntax, an R-expression (short for referring expression) is a category in the three-way classification of noun phrases in binding theory, the other two being anaphors and pronom
Determiner phrase
In linguistics, a determiner phrase (DP) is a type of phrase headed by a determiner such as many. Controversially, many approaches, take a phrase like not very many apples to be a DP, headed, in this
Noun ellipsis
Noun ellipsis (N-ellipsis), also noun phrase ellipsis (NPE), is a mechanism that elides, or appears to elide, part of a noun phrase that can be recovered from context. The mechanism occurs in many lan
Grammatical category
In linguistics, a grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar of a language. Within each category there are two or more possible values (sometimes called gram
In generative grammar and related frameworks, a node in a parse tree c-commands its sister node and all of its sister's descendants. In these frameworks, c-command plays a central role in defining and
Semantic ambiguity
In linguistics, an expression is semantically ambiguous when it can have multiple meanings. The higher the amount of synonyms a word has, the higher the degree of ambiguity. Like other kinds of ambigu
Transformational grammar
In linguistics, transformational grammar (TG) or transformational-generative grammar (TGG) is part of the theory of generative grammar, especially of natural languages. It considers grammar to be a sy
Dynamic antisymmetry
Dynamic antisymmetry is a theory of syntactic movement presented in Andrea Moro's 2000 monograph Dynamic Antisymmetry based on the work presented in Richard S. Kayne's 1994 monograph The Antisymmetry
Distributed morphology
In generative linguistics, Distributed Morphology is a theoretical framework introduced in 1993 by Morris Halle and Alec Marantz. The central claim of Distributed Morphology is that there is no divide
Phrase structure grammar
The term phrase structure grammar was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky as the term for grammar studied previously by Emil Post and Axel Thue (Post canonical systems). Some authors, however, reser
Lexicalist hypothesis
Lexicalist hypothesis is a hypothesis proposed by Noam Chomsky in which he claims that syntactic transformations only can operate on syntactic constituents. The hypothesis states that the system of gr
Do-support (or do-insertion), in English grammar, is the use of the auxiliary verb do, including its inflected forms does and did, to form negated clauses and questions as well as other constructions
Minimalist program
In linguistics, the minimalist program is a major line of inquiry that has been developing inside generative grammar since the early 1990s, starting with a 1993 paper by Noam Chomsky. Following Imre L
In linguistics, pied-piping is a phenomenon of syntax whereby a given focused expression brings along an encompassing phrase with it when it is moved. The term was introduced by John Robert Ross in 19
Empty category
In linguistics, an empty category, which may also be referred to as a covert category, is an element in the study of syntax that does not have any phonological content and is therefore unpronounced. E
Ellipsis (linguistics)
In linguistics, ellipsis (from Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis 'omission') or an elliptical construction is the omission from a clause of one or more words that are nevertheless understood in the context o
Phi features
In linguistics, especially within generative grammar, phi features (denoted with the Greek letter φ 'phi') are the morphological expression of a semantic process in which a word or morpheme varies wit
Head-directionality parameter
In linguistics, head directionality is a proposed parameter that classifies languages according to whether they are head-initial (the head of a phrase precedes its complements) or head-final (the head
Sentence-final particle
Sentence-final particles, including modal particles, interactional particles, etc., are minimal lexemes (words) that occur at the end of a sentence and that do not carry referential meaning, but may r
Operator (linguistics)
In generative grammar, the technical term operator denotes a type of expression that enters into an a-bar movement dependency. One often says that the operator "binds a variable". Operators are often
Reflexivity (grammar)
In grammar, reflexivity is a property of syntactic constructs whereby two arguments (actual or implicit) of an action or relation expressed by a single predicate have the same reference. Reflexivity m
Move α
Move α is a feature of the Revised Extended Standard Theory (REST) of transformational grammar developed by Noam Chomsky in the late 1970s. The term refers to the relation between an indexed constitue
Dislocation (syntax)
In syntax, dislocation is a sentence structure in which a constituent, which could otherwise be either an argument or an adjunct of the clause, occurs outside the clause boundaries either to its left
Structure preservation principle
The Structure Preservation Principle is a generalization going back to Joseph Emonds' 1970 MIT dissertation and widely adopted afterwards. It claims, in a nutshell, that the result of syntactic transf
Tensed-S condition
The Tensed-S condition (where S stands for "Sentence") is a condition proposed in Noam Chomsky (1973) which essentially stipulates that certain classes of syntactic transformational rules cannot apply
Syntax–semantics interface
In linguistics, the syntax–semantics interface is the interaction between syntax and semantics. Its study encompasses phenomena that pertain to both syntax and semantics, with the goal of explaining c
Absolute construction
In linguistics, an absolute construction is a grammatical construction standing apart from a normal or usual syntactical relation with other words or sentence elements. It can be a non-finite clause t
Remarks on Nominalization
Remarks on Nominalization is a seminal linguistic paper on English nominalization by Noam Chomsky published in 1970. X-bar theory was first proposed in this paper.
Logical form (linguistics)
In generative grammar and related approaches, the logical form (LF) of a linguistic expression is the variant of its syntactic structure which undergoes semantic interpretation. It is distinguished fr
Parse tree
A parse tree or parsing tree or derivation tree or concrete syntax tree is an ordered, rooted tree that represents the syntactic structure of a string according to some context-free grammar. The term
Antecedent-contained deletion
Antecedent-contained deletion (ACD), also called antecedent-contained ellipsis, is a phenomenon whereby an elided verb phrase appears to be contained within its own antecedent. For instance, in the se
Extraposition is a mechanism of syntax that alters word order in such a manner that a relatively "heavy" constituent appears to the right of its canonical position. Extraposing a constituent results i
Locality (linguistics)
In linguistics, locality refers to the proximity of elements in a linguistic structure. Constraints on locality limit the span over which rules can apply to a particular structure. Theories of transfo
Null subject parameter
Pro-drop parameter or Null subject parameter is the parameter which determines whether a language is a pro-drop language or not. A positive setting of the parameter allows an empty pro-element to be i
Subject side parameter
The subject-side parameter, also called the specifier–head parameter, is a proposed parameter within generative linguistics which states that the position of the subject may precede or follow the head
Scope (formal semantics)
In formal semantics, the scope of a semantic operator is the semantic object to which it applies. For instance, in the sentence "Paulina doesn't drink beer but she does drink wine," the proposition th
Bound variable pronoun
A bound variable pronoun (also called a bound variable anaphor or BVA) is a pronoun that has a quantified determiner phrase (DP) – such as every, some, or who – as its antecedent. An example of a boun
Feature (linguistics)
In linguistics, a feature is any characteristic used to classify a phoneme or word. These are often binary or unary conditions which act as constraints in various forms of linguistic analysis.
Government (linguistics)
In grammar and theoretical linguistics, government or rection refers to the relationship between a word and its dependents. One can discern between at least three concepts of government: the tradition
Coordination (linguistics)
In linguistics, coordination is a complex syntactic structure that links together two or more elements; these elements are called conjuncts or conjoins. The presence of coordination is often signaled
An interrogative clause is a clause whose form is typically associated with question-like meanings. For instance, the English sentence "Is Hannah sick?" has interrogative syntax which distinguishes it